By Shingirai Vambe
Zimbabwean legislators have blasted Finance and economic development minister, Mthuli Ncube for failing to channel budget allocations in full and on time to various government departments and ministries.
This has led to most government departments failing to operate optimally as funds are often eroded by inflation before being released for development.
Legislators have even threatened to block the 2022 budget proposal in protest calling for efficient disbursement and quarterly budget reviews going forward.
At a recent pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls, Norton Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa quizzed the rationale behind the delays in disbursing budget allocations in full when government was posting surpluses.
“Minister you should explain to us why haven’t you funded ministry including parliament in time? Now the money that was allocated to my constituency will only be able to have 2 boreholes yet when we passed the previous budget it was worthy of 15 boreholes.”
“I promise you we are organizing ourselves and we are going to abscond and the 22 budget will not be passed unless if you want to do it alone. We are now appearing as useless people in our constituencies, you get appointed we are elected ” added Mliswa.
Prof Ncube however assured legislators that the process would be done more efficiently this time.
Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Francis Mudenda said it was critical for members to always assess the objectives of vision 2030 from which the NDS 1 and national budgets are derived.
“What is an upper middle income economy? As expounded in the vision 2030 blue print it means that per capita Gross national income should be over US $5000 in terms by 2030. How much ground have we covered given our baseline and target goals” Mudenda said.
To date Parliament has only received 38% of its budget allocation, while the Ministry of Information is said to have received just 40 percent of what it was promised.
Many government departments are yet to receive half the size of their allocations.
“The rural community should be looked at, if left behind, they will rise up against us” said Mudenda
“You may recall that one of the key outcomes from the presentations at the pre-budget briefing seminar was the worrisome disparity between the exchange rate auction rate premium and the odious parallel market rate which is now hovering around ZWL $200 per one unit of the united states dollar as compared to the forex auction rate of ZWL $90 per unit of the USD” said Mudenda.
Speaking at the same event, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya told legislators that the country has to deal with lawlessness and indiscipline to arrest the exchange rate movement.
“Lawlessness affects the whole economy and there is need to capacitate law enforcers so that they help in enforcing the law. The overall complementary between monetary and fiscal policy has put the economy on a good platform for growth” added Mangudya.
As the year draws closer to the end, almost 90% of the people on Zimbabwe are not formally employed in the country, Mudenda urged legislators and ministers to fund the women’s bank and empowering of youths to become job creators not job seekers.
Buhera South legislator, Joseph Chinotimba and Bikita East Legislator, Johnson Madhuku, quizzied Mangudya on the $50 rbz fund claiming that the rural community has once again been left out of facility and let down by policy makers.
Mudenda said, “True to this allusion, it is incumbent upon parliament to ensure that the budget is youth-centric, providing an enabling environment for the youths to become job generators and to realize their full innovative potential in all sectors of our economy” he added.
However, in all their presentations, both legislators and ministers did not include and or submit anything on People with disabilities, inclusions especially from the deaf and dump community, the blind who feel they are left behind because of their condition.
The Private Media was also left out in the picture with the main focus being put on ZBC on the digitization program nothing to do with the welfare of freelancers and private media including the importance of the digitization program to content creator and the private sector.
In her closing remarks, president of the Senate, Marble Chinomona said it is now the finance minister’s duty to fulfill his promises for the year 2022.
“I address you directly because the ball is now in your court. It seems to me that all the ministers and committee chairpersons in their presentations here agree on the work that need to be done in 2022, all that remains now is to allocate them adequate resources to enable them to work” Chinomona said.
She also added that 1.8 million rural households also want to be included and become economic participants in their small capacities.
“’The same applies to the ministry of mines and the largely unregulated small scall miners. We are losing money every day to externalisati0on of our gold through the black market when we should be building gold reserves to establish a stronger basis for our currency” added Chinomona.
Chinomona pleaded with prof Ncube that the condition of service of people working in Zimbabwe should be improved as the country continue to lose thousands daily to neighboring and international countries.
“As a nation we cannot afford to keep losing our engineers, teachers’ nurses, doctors and young human capital to other countries. For decades we have experienced a mass exodus of workers in search of greener pastures, how do we expect to grow the economy? I am surprised that the minister of finance has declared a budget surplus of ZW $570 million for half year period, why do we have surplus when our people are under paid and pensioners and War veterans getting penuts” said Chinomona.